Driving up to the top of Thailands highest mountain you will pass an area of lush rice fields. Not exactly Ubud in Bali, or Longsheng in Chinas Guangxi province, but there are still some comforting views in the lower foothills of Himalaya in the mountain retreat of Mae Klang Luang. While most Thai tourists are looking for close to zero temperatures and camping in Doi Inthanon in December and January, the rice terraces are most spectacular during the late rain season before the rice is harvested. We stayed there from the 14th to the 15th of October 2020.
Driving to Mae Klang Luang in good traffic is just a two-hour drive southwest of Chiang Mai. Find yourself a cosy homestay in Doi Inthanon national park and let the Karen villagers host you. Back in the day’s hill tribes used to grow opium, but now tourism, coffee and rice are the prime sources of income for them.
Don’t book too late but do try to negotiate the price a bit. The prices ranged from 1500 – 2000 baht per night. The beds are hard, but, but it is still worth staying overnight a real welcome city break.
Homestay Mae Klang Luang has nice kayaking and swimming opportunities for kids, and a wonderful coffee shop. With my early morning habits, I was so grateful for their efforts to get the coffee machine warmed up before 7 am.
The homestay includes a decent restaurant and they offer the nowadays almost obligatory shabu/hot pot on your balcony in the evening for an extra charge of 500 baht.
Just a few minutes drive from Mae Klang Luang you will find the entrance for one of the nicest and easiest hikes in the national park. A local guide is required, which is also nice to have.
A later post will be about Doi Inthanon. To be followed.
An address to the homestay area on Google maps here.