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.
" March 14th 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced a dissuasion from unnecessary travel to all countries, due to the extensive uncertainty for global travel linked to covid-19 "
When the news broke out, I burst out in some kind of weird laughter because up until then, this just sounded so unreal, and absurd. Sars had stopped me from visiting China for half a year, but that the whole world would close just felt unimaginable. But it happened.
I had been busy coordinating tours around Asia and, creating content for tour companies on Social Media. In my life, there wasn’t much time for hobbies, apart from taking a lot of photos on tour. All the free time would rightfully go to family life at home in Chiang Mai, and indulging myself in a nice coffee now and then. But then the news of covid, a pandemic struck, and all work-related travel came to an end by mid-March 2020. Suddenly I found myself with more free time than ever, to think and reflect on my travel-related life in Asia.
A kind of “unemployment deluxe situation ” in a way. Because being stuck in Chiang Mai wasn’t a bad place to get stuck in.
Thailand managed early to push back the virus and after a lockdown of a month or so, there was suddenly a chance to explore this country again, but under completely different premises. A rather empty country when it came to visitors, but we still did our best to try to support the travel and tourism industry, doing a few family road trips. And then I did some short trips on my own.
Well, I concluded that now is a good time to tell my journey through Thailand since my first visit in 1994 and share some tips and ideas that I hope some of you might find useful. Tidbits from the land of smiles, where the food taste a bit more, and life can be both complicated and easy. So let’s savour the Tom Yam soup, the flavoursome dish with a taste explosion, that can stand as a bit of a symbol of colourful life and travels in Thailand.
The beyond part was a recommendation from an Australian friend: – Don’t forget to tell the stories of your other Asian journeys.
So let’s explore now and then, I will share new experiences and walk down memory lane. My ambition and hope are that you the reader will get both useful travel tips and a bit of knowledge from reading this blog in “Swenglish”. Welcome!
Let’s be touched by nature by looking at it with the heart. Appreciating seasonal changes, the time of renewal, and the fleeting nature of life. Well maybe not quite as Zen here. But in recent years with more Thais than ever going to the land of the rising sun – why not grow Himalayan cherries at home as well? Locally named Tiger Queen flowers(Nang Paya Sua Kroang). Cherry magic in the north is arguably the most perfect instagramable hot spot in January.
There are a few places you can visit. When the blooming reaches its peak period you will enjoy your sakura with the crowd, but it is still a worthwhile experience. Sakura watching Thai style means local hill tribes selling sweet potatoes, strawberries, excellent arabica coffee (local produce). Many smiles and great scenery. Its worth it, albeit traffic gets busy in and out. Then, it is a good way to avoid weekends.
The place we went to is just beyond the Doi Pui camping grounds,
Khun Chang Khian Agricultural Center is located 1400 meter above sea level, and the Himalayan cherry trees were planted for tourism.
The road here can get a bit narrow and there will be local red buses, so-called Songthews standing by to provide bumpy taxi service from The Bhuping Palace parking. Negotiate the price!
Estimate around two hours for the visit, depending on if you’re indulging in coffee at The Fernpresso cafe or not. It is so much fun to see Thai people enjoy this flowery outing on a weekend. Taking pictures with the Tiger Queen.
There are a few quite nice restaurants around the parking, just by the market area. Our choice was ครัวระเบียงชมวิว, that served a nice variety of dishes. You could get the general Thai cuisine, Northern and Northeastern food such as papaya salad and black pepper mushroom soup.
Also read about Sakura in Japan. 2021 had the earliest sakura arrival ever.
A new food nightmarket called has recently opened in the Nimmanhemin vicinity. Trendy Japanese eateries(because everything is sooo japonais at the moment), the usual café, food stalls and an amazing collection of food trucks. There is even a classic photo automat. Welcome to More Space!
More Space is full of interesting food choices.