Switzerland in Thailand
Many People Have Called Doi Tung "Switzerland in Thailand" (correct pronunciation is "Doi Dtoong"). This description seems apt when viewing the crisp line of mountains of Chiang Rai in the cool winter season, or when the mist and clouds of the rainy season roll in above the verdant forest against a background of an ever-changing sky.
This natural beauty has been enhanced through the effort and perseverance of the people of Doi Tung in reviving their once deteriorated forests. The now lush forests are their legacy to pass on to their descendants. It is through their work that they accomplished the gracious commands in the memory of Her Royal Highness, the Princess Mother, through the Doi Tung Development Project under Royal Initiative, that has returned the mountains to their natural environment. The Princess Mother has passed away, but her inspiration has lived on through the dedication of the loyal staff of the Doi Tung Development Project.
Visitors to Doi Tung can experience for themselves the natural beauty of the hills, and appreciate the efforts of the people of Doi Tung. They can see how people and forests can live together, while the people preserve the forests, the forests support the livelihood of the people.
"The Villa on Doi Tung"
The Royal Villa was built at Doi Tung for Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother to stay while she carried out her environmental and development work. On deciding to live there, Her Royal Highness told her private secretary, "If there were no Doi Tung Development Project, I will not have a house here". The Doi Tung Royal Villa is thus a symbol of Her Royal Highness' constant efforts to improve the lives and well-being of her subjects.
The Doi Tung Royal Villa
The Doi Tung Royal Villa was the first residence of Her Royal Highness Princess Srinakarindra, the Princess Mother, built under her supervision, Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, gave the architects a concept of simplicity and multi-functionality for the Royal Villa.
Construction started on December 23, 1987 with a traditional northern Thai ceremony (Called "Pork Sao Huen") of erecting the main house pillar.
Handicrafts and Cottage Industries
The Doi Tung Development Project recognized that improving the quality of life and raising the income of the people of Doi Tung would not be possible through agriculture alone. A variety of activities have been promoted under the Project by establishing both a Cottage Industry Center and an Outlet to help residents develop their skills.
Younger villagers are trained in handmade carpet manufacturing. These carpets are sold entirely on the international market.
Women already skilled in weaving and in clothes making are given additional training to enhance their traditional skills. The goods they produce incorporate traditional elements, with improved quality and color, as well as new designs appropriate for domestic and international markets.
Sa Paper is made from the bark of mulberry trees planted in the forest. This handmade paper is used for wrapping and other decorative purposes, including paper flowers and photo frames.
A center has been established to process and roast the Arabica coffee beans, and these arabica coffee blends available for sale under the Golden Triangle brand name.
Mae Fah Luang Arboretum at Chang Mub
Doi Chang Mub at 1,509 meters above sea level is the highest mountain in the Doi Tung Development Project area. Forming part of the Thai-Myanmar border, the highest point of Doi Chang Mub lies just inside Thai territory. Before the project started, this site was barren of trees, and covered with one of the largest opium fields in Thai territory.
H.R.H. the Princess Mother had a wish to see this once denuded mountain reforested, with part of it made into an arboretum. Fifteen large old trees that were moved from near Mae Chan town along the Chiang Rai Mae Sai highway from the center-piece of this arboretum. These trees were doomed to be cut down when the highway was expanded from two to four lanes, but at Her Royal Highness' suggestion the root balls and trunks were moved to Doi Chang Mub in an effort to save these ancient, massive trees.
The Mae Fah Luang Garden
The Mae Fah Garden filled with decorative and flowering plants covers 25 rai (hectares) is located on the hillside just below the Royal Villa. The Garden, opened since 1992, was created with the support of the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Throughout the year, flowers adorn this hillside, making the Mae Fah Luang Garden one of the brightest and most colorful sites in Thailand. At the center of the garden stands a statue of children climbing, made by one of the country's leading sculptresses, Museum Yip-in-soi. Entitled "Continuity", the statue is evocative of the continuous effort of Her Royal Highness the Princess Mother to improve the lives of the people of Thailand.
The Pacific-Asia Tourist Association (PATA) gave Thailand the PATA Gold Award in 1993 for the Mae Fah Luang Garden, in recognition of the development of this new tourist destination.
New additions to the Mae Fah Luang Garden include a rock garden, a water garden, a plant garden, and an ornamental plants garden.
Baan Ton Nam 31
Doi Tung Tourism & Service Center recently introduced the 45 newly furnished guestrooms accommodation, "Ton Nam 31" nestled on a mountain 1,000 meters above sea level. Every room has a spectacular scenic verandah, overlooking meadows and hilltribe villages. Each room has ensuite bathroom with hot/cold shower, air conditioning, satellite TV and a mini bar. After a long day of touring, you can relax at the "Club 31" after sunset.
Moreover, visitors can taste the traditional northern style food prepared from freshly picked organic vegetables and fruits served in every restaurant outlet.
For further information, contact the Tourism & Service Center, Tel. 053-767015-7 ext. 308, 309, Bangkok Office, Tel. 02-2542225-6, or E-mail : email@example.com.
If your group would like to reserve a table at any of the Doi Tung Restaurants in the Doi Tung Development Project, Mae Fah Luang, Chiang Rai, please book in advance at Tel. 053-767015-7, ext. 248, 250 or Fax. 053-767077.