Saturday, 18 May 2024

Wat Phra That Doi Tung

Doi Mae Salong Route 110, then 1089

After the Communists took over the mainland of China in 1949 a division of Nationalist Chinese army fled through Yunnan Province to the Thai-Burmese border areas. In 1961, some of them were allowed to settle down on a mountain inside Chiang Rai Province called Mae Salong, which then became a Yunnan army base to fight the communist regime in China.

In 1982 after the force was disbanded, the former soldiers began to lead a civilian life. They started growing tea, fruits, and flowering cherry trees, which transformed the mountain into one of Thailand tourist attractions. Another inheritance they received is their Yunnanese-Chinese culture that makes the valley even more outstanding.

Located some 40 kilometres from Mae Chan along route 1089, the village they founded, known as Santi Khiri, soon became well known for its enchanting scenery and tranquil atmosphere. Most of the area is covered with plantations of tea, coffee and fruit trees, especially a traditional Chinese tea, “Oolong” which brings a good reputation to Doi Mae Salong. Oolong tea has a distinctive taste and aroma. Its colour is between green and black. In the village, you will find countless teashops that serve you authentic Oolong tea. The scenery is especially picturesque in December and January when the cherry trees are in full bloom. Scattered with many hilltribe villages, Doi Mae Salong is thus a nice place for trekking.

There are hotels and guesthouses to accommodate tourists and a paved road leading to the village, which is about 60 km. from the provincial town of Chiang Rai.


Doi Tung Area Route 110, then 1149


Wat Phra That Doi Tung

Located on the mountaintop of Doi Tung (the highest in Chiang Rai) at Km. 17.5 of route 1149, this is a most important place of worship for Buddhists in the North. The temple contains the left collar bone of the Buddha. There, on a clear day, one can have a breathtaking panorama of the forested border areas.


Doi Tung Royal Villa


Doi Tung Royal Villa & Mae Fa Luang Garden

Doi Tung Royal Villa

Situated at Km. 12 of route 1149, this beautiful royal residence was built for the late Princess Mother in celebration of her 90th birthday in 1990. The villa is a 2-storey building neatly designed in northern Thai and Swiss chalet styles of architecture. After the Princess Mother passed away, the Palace has continued to draw many visitors to admire its beautiful gardens, especially during the cool season.

Doi Tung is renowned among Thai and foreign tourists as a perfect destination for recreation because of its Switzerland-like environment. Lots of flowers and trees here are of Western species. And the clear mountain air helps refresh visitors. On the mountaintop, a group of buildings constructed to accommodate the Princess Mother's entourage are now being converted into a small, ecological hotel. There's a restaurant which serves food and snacks.

Open : 07.30-17.30 hrs. daily


Mae Fa Luang Garden

Mae Fah Luang Garden is a beautifully landscaped garden which is part of the Doi Tung Development Project. It is located on 10 acres of land that was originally the Akha village of Pa Kluay, part of a main opium trade route in the past.

With the villagers resettled, a garden of temperate flowers was created in accordance with the late Princess Mother’s wish to give Thai people an opportunity to enjoy a temperate flower garden. The decorative flowers in Mae Fah Luang Garden are grown and nurtured by local villagers. The garden brings substantial income to the area, directly as job opportunities for the locals, and indirectly as a tourist destination.

In 1993, the Pacific Asia Tourism Association (PATA) named the Mae Fah Luang Garden winner of PATA Award for Tourist Site Development. For more details, call Doi Tung Development Project at 0 5376 7015 to 7.

Open : 08.30 - 17.00 hrs.daily

Admission Fee : 150 baht/person*

* including the fees of Doi Tung Royal Villa, the Late Princess Mother's Autobiography Hall and Mae Fa Luang Garden



There are several scenic viewpoints on Doi Tung mountain; the major points are at Km. 12 and 14.


Hilltribe Villages

On the way to the summit of Doi Tung, there are several hilltribe villages such as those of Akha and Lahu, which are easily accessible. There is also a hilltribe handicrafts centre on Km.14, a good place to buy some souvenirs.