Kampong Lodges in Mae Orn District,
Natural Retreat in the High Hills
IF YOU ARE DREAMING of visiting a mountain retreat that is 1,300 meters above sea level. You don't have to drive far away from Chiangmai City. A panoramic view of a splashing waterfall with a delightful meandering brook can be yours from a picnic blanket or deck chair at KAMPONG LODGES located in the village of Baan Mae Kampong (pronounced as Gumporng) in Mae Orn district about one's hour's drive east past Sankampaeng. The lodges are of idyllic simplicity and rustic comfort blended together in an unspoiled highland valley. Guests are provided with Free bicycles for doing it yourself village tours.
Not too far from Sankampaeng the scenery is beautiful hilly countryside. The easy slopes grow into rolling hills covered with dense trees and bamboo. Well established villages with fruit orchards appear every now and then. Getting closer to Baan Mae Kampong are nurseries selling mature trees and flowering bushes. One wonders how the villagers survive so remote from the city.
More about the destination of Baan Mae Kampong village. Here the cement road narrows a bit and it doesn't seem possible that two vehicles could pass each other but it is manageable. The forestry office buildings are appealing with their stone and wood construction under the canopies of green leaves. Baan Mae Kampong, described as "kao hin" meaning, huge boulders strewn over the hillsides. The Christmas pointsettas stay in red bloom up to April because of the brief hours of direct sun on the flowers. About 15 minutes from the village the road climbs even steeper. The villagers grow coffee bean and northern chewing plants. The chewing leaves are not for tea beverage but the older leaves on the plant are fermented as "miang" for a chewing snack popular from the days of ancient Lanna. (Later, a dish of laab prepared with miang was served. "The more miang leaves added to the dish, the greater the chance of becoming drunk", was the warning from the cook).
The Baan Mae Kampong village has been settle in its mountainous location for 100 years. When the King visited 20 years ago, he suggested the village produce its own electricity generated by the waterfall and stream. Another income for the village is selling electricity farther down the mountain. About two years ago the Paw Luang (Village Headman) encouraged the villagers to subsidize their income even further by providing facilities to long stay visitors. A few gorgeous looking cottages are available for rent. The visitors are usually brought by tour companies. With the cool air and the sound of the splashing stream and waterfall, the visitors are perfectly happy to live in this shangri-la setting. Cool breezes blow even on a cloudy April day and in the winter the temperature is around 3 deg C.
Visitors have even more activities to entertain them as with a village co-op massage center organized by the Department of Labor and the Professional Businesswomen of Chiangmai. Nearly 40 women are trained in body and foot massage technique. This service is appreciated by visitors who climb the hills during the day and need healing relief at the end of the day.
Sales and service office for Kampong Lodges at the Thanam Restaurant, Changklan Road, or Tel/Fax 053 275125 or 053 282988 email: firstname.lastname@example.org