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Has it been a while since you've taken a family outing? From Chiangmai north to Chaiprakarn, Fang, Mae Ai, Thatorn, Mae Salong and Doi Tung. Continue east until Doi Poo Shee Fah head south to Phayao and return to Chiangmai city.

Suggested sightseeing spots going south of Fang are :-

  • Huay Born Reservoir, good for 4 wheel drive or mountain biking.
  • Petroleum Development Center (must have permission from the miliary to enter the center)
  • Wat Tham Pha Phung Grotto
  • Baan Mai Nong Bua Chinese temple and mineral spa. A village keeping its KMT Chinese heritage similar to Mae Salong.
  • Chaiprakarn Reservoir with restaurants in bamboo design on the reservoir edge and free fishing facilities but bring your own gear. Great place for children to ride bikes around the 4 km circumference.
  • Tabtao Cave and Temple with giant carp pond. The school children escort visitors on Saturdays and Sundays through the length of the 1500 m cave.

Historic sights of Fang

In keeping with the TAT's theme, "If you don't go, you won't know", visit Chaiprakarn, Fang (phonetically pronouced : Faang or Fang), Thatorn area for fresh air, historic sights as well as the natural beauty. Visit these sightseeing spots to the north of Fang : -

Wat Jong Tok, Thai Yai style recently renovated after a fire two years ago still reflects the original design. Wat Jong Owg, Thai Yai style is the original old building where visitors can see how interior temple restoration is undertaken. Wat Pha Baht Udom typical Thai style architecture Pra Jao Faang & Pra Naang Sarm Piew monument and wishing well.

"Helping Hands" Tribal Project at Fang Catholic Church. Wat Pra Thart Sob Fang on banks of Kok River. Boat stop in Mae Ai village in Thatorn. Fang Hot Springs and Mae Sai Dam, both good for mountain biking. Families like to hard boil eggs in the hot springs for their picnic.

Baan (village) Huai Khum

This Village is for those in search of a chance to know the charms of village living in far away northern Thailand. The Huai Khum Village Resort located on 22 rai of lynchee orchard facing the Mae Kok River near the village of Baan Mae Salaak located in Thatorn Sub-district of Mae Ai District, Chiangmai is oddly enough, located just inside the border of Baan Mae Salaak and Huai Chompu Sub-district of Muang District of Chiang Rai Province. Then continue for another 16 kilometers following the signs to the resort.

Stepping out of a long tail boat, what a surprise to find a professionally tiled swimming pool in this rural countryside. The path continues to the open air restaurant facing the Mae Kok River. Jungle bamboo decor is definitely the theme and even the ceiling fans are made of bamboo. The talented cook prepares delicious curries, salads and Chinese style fried dishes to guests' satisfaction.

After a meal and refreshment, visitors can settle into their hillside bamboo cottages complete with large towels, shower and western toilet. The beds are very comfortable and covered with a double sheet and blanket to stay warm throughout the cool nights. The rooms are so pleasant that it's tempting to just sit in the peacefulness.

Visitors can choose from three styles of accommodations: standard, superior and deluxe villas. The villas, located conveniently near the swimming pool, comprise one sitting room, 2 bedrooms and one bathroom plus a spacious terrace.

A stroll through the friendly hilltribe village adjacent to the resort allows visitors to see their Christian church, how rice is pounded by the housewives, and to examine the water reservoir. The children proudly tend the water buffalo. One child pointed out the large horns on a buffalo valued at Baht 16,000. Visitors can also walk or ride bikes to the outlying farming area. Returning to the resort, guests can view a permanent photo exhibition explaining hilltribes' customs. A documentary film identifies tribal customs and holiday celebrations.

As the sun sets, it's time to prepare for evening meal. During school holiday, a group of teenage girls will serenade you with songs in the tribal language. Their farewell is a blessing song wishing for happiness and good health for travelers.

Morning is the time to view the srunning panoramic view of the Mae Kok River meandering through the valley and mountains. Visitors can use the Huai Khum Village Resort as a base camp going out to see the sights such as Ruammit Elephant Camp, and the nearby hot springs after which returning to stay the night.

Plan to reach Thatorn around noon. To get to the resort.

  1. Point to Huai Khum Village Resort on the signboard at Thatorn pier and take the public ferry long tail boat for Baht 100. per person. If you have a group up to 10 persons, hire a longtail boat at Baht 800 for the 40 minutes ride to the resort.
  2. At the bridge of Thaton, Call the resort for boat pick up. Drive for another 11 kms. Turn right at Baan Tha-Makaeng and drive for 5 kms. to Baan Mae Salaak. Cross the bridge of Huai Chompu after 20-30 minutes driving, park your car at the pier. Take a 10 minute boat ride to the resort. Book a cottage at the Resort at Tel. 053-918254, Fax. 053-918232.

Thatorn, Baan Tha Makiang, Mae Salong

The road between Thaton (23 km north of Fang on Hwy 1089) and Doi Mae Salong has many different hill tribes growing Lynchee. The 42 kilometer road from Thatorn to Mae Salong is green with fruit orchards.

The spectacular scenery combined with friendly Thai and colorfully dressed hill tribe people in the Thatorn area makes a drive through a total pleasure. Take along mountain bikes and motorbikes plus detailed maps of Thatorn to tour the villages. Highway 1089 winds through the hill about 20 km or so before turning up into the mountain toward Mae Salong. A one day journey by mountain bike from Thatorn is a good idea. You can visit Akha, Karen, Yao, Lahu, Lisu and Shan villages, bathe in a hot spring, and take a swim in the Mae Kok river. The road is easy to bike on with little traffic.

Thatorn is located 172 km north of Chiangmai via Hwy 107 to Faang then Hwy 1089 for 23 kms to Thatorn. Accommodations include everything from inexpensive guest houses to riverside bungalows and resorts. Long-tail boats depart daily to Chiangrai at 12:30 pm. Bamboo rafting from one to three days is also available along with treks and tours.

Gateway to the "Golden Triangle"

The surrounding areas of Doi Tung (phonetically pronounced : Doi Dtoong) and Doi Mae Salong are two popular villages to visit. Also, excursions can be made to the Golden Triangle (where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand come together) and the historic Chiang Saen town on the Mekhong River. Highly recommended is a visit to the Princess Mother's villa at Doi Tung and also to the KMT (Chinese Nationalist) settlement on Doi Mae Salong. The late Princess Mother (HM King Bhumibol's mother) created a beautiful villa (Swiss chalet style) with a view to extensive, formal gardens at the summit of Doi Tung which are enchanting.

The KMT, after fleeing before the Chinese Communists took over China, settled the high, mountain ridges of Doi Mae Salong where the KMT descendants now grow excellent Oo-long tea. Several resorts and a temple dominate the heights above the village while the main street of the "Chinese" settlement is lined with tea shops plus some guest houses and general stores. Also, the locally grown Arabica coffee can deliver a powerful caffeine punch! A fascinating "Founding Fathers Museum" focusing on the history of the pioneers of this area is open to the public at Baht 30 entrance fee.

Chiangrai is also a perfect base for visitors to visit the border town of Mae Sai. The Thai/Myanmar (Burma) border is only 45 minutes north of Chiang Rai on a very good road. Mae Sai has a "frontier" feel to it with lots of Chinese, Burmese and Thai products for sale electronic goods, cheap CD's, pickled fruits, dried mushrooms, figs and so on. Hilltribe peoples, Thais and powder-faced Burmese sell their wares in colorful and noisy displays a bargain hunter's (and photographer's) paradise! Check with the Thai Passport Control booth on the border if you can easily cross the border to shop in Ta Chi Lek. Lots to do, to see and to buy at the border town. To Continue in Next Issue....

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