The dramatic beauty of the Angkhang mountain range is a magnet attracting both western and Thai visitors as an escape in the winter season of northern Thailand. That season is a short four months but the beauty and coolness at its height of 1700 feet can still be found there throughout the year.
A recent visit in March was a most enjoyable diversion from the hot dusty city. After 3 hours driving from Chiangmai City, we arrived at 4 pm to a bright blue sky with full sun but the temperature was pleasant and the flowers were blooming in riotous colors everywhere throughout the gardens of Angkhang Nature Resort operated by the Amari Group of Hotels.
It wasn't that long ago when getting to Doi Angkhang was a major undertaking requiring chains on the vehicle tyres to scale the steep roads. The roads are still steep but the surfaces are all asphalt for ease throughout the three hour plus drive due north on the road to Fang, pronounced "Faang". Turn left at Mae Ngorn (or Wat Haan Samrarn) intersection for the last 25 kilometers to the nature resort. The area is the fruit basket with orchards of oranges, mangoes and dragon fruit seen from the road for about 7 kilometers and then, a steady drive to the top for another 18 kilometers. Near the resort hotel, there are plenty of sights to see with clearly marked mountain biking routes, camping grounds and the King's Royal Project all nearby.
While staying in the resort, the restaurant offers homemade salad dressings using seasonal fruits such as strawberries, oranges, and mango plus a piquant dressing made of celery and garlic. Morning breakfast drinks include freshly squeezed passion fruit, mango, peach and orange juice.
After an early breakfast, take a drive down a bumpy red dirt road to Baan Khorb Dhong village school established in 1983. The current principal, Kru Liam, a visitor 22 years ago, decided the children of Baan Khorb Dhong needed her teaching skills. At the time the school was operated by the border patrol and King's Royal Project. Today, the school is officially in Thai ministry education domain. Kru Liam still teaches the first grade because it is an important year to establish discipline and to inspire the young ones to love school. The students are mostly Pa long and Muser tribes who have settled in this area as late as 1984. The King provides them with a chance to earn a living and they are loyal and love the King.
For the past seven years, a compulsory study for young ones has been the "Little Guide" course taught by four teachers of different backgrounds e.g., the military, the health department, Mr. Makku, General Manager of the Angkhang Nature Park and a national park guide. The objective of this study is not to produce guides as an occupation but to encourage the children to understand the importance of each group working in this area as well as build patriotism in the young. The subject matter is reviewed every year and during school break, there is a summer camp for even more on hand experience. The third grade students proudly and loudly recited the ten points of good guide policy. Then, they confirmed enthusiastically looking forward to Summer Camp at the end of the school term.
Visitors booking in advance are taken to see one or two hilltribe villages, a village school, the military camp and can have a walk through the Royal Project. Please confirm when booking about the tour particulars to be arranged.
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