A BEAUTIFUL AREA to the north of the city of Chiangmai is still an undiscovered paradise to visitors. With recent improvements in communications and the establishment of accommodations, the quiet forest, scenic hills, and beautiful vast lake draped in tropical foliage, await the adventurous tourist at "Kheun Mae Ngud" or Mae Ngud Somboon Chol Dam. Until a few years ago overnight accommodations in this area were scarce but now transportation, accommodations, and a wealth of outdoor activities are an attraction to be enjoyed.
Mae Ngud Somboon Chol Dam is a big lake that is surrounded by mountains and forests. It is one of the main attractions of Chiangmai. At all times, there are many tourists interested in visiting the area to enjoy its panoramic and natural surroundings. Making the attraction more interesting camping and over night facilities on house-rafts are available for those who want to spend a night in the area.
HOW TO GET THERE - The dam can be visited by 2 ways. The first way is to travel 41.5 kms along highway No. 107 or the Chiangmai-Fang Rd. Turn right at a placard of the project and continue to the destination for about 11 kms. The second way is to travel about 39 kms along the Chiangmai-Phrao Rd. from the city. Turn left past Mae Ho Phra, Tambol Cho Lae subdistrict about 4 kms and turn right again to the destination for about 6 kms.
In 1973 there was a serious high flood in Tambol Intakil and Cholae subdistricts. The Mae Ngud River destroyed a local dike built by the villagers. It was built in a primitive way so the structure was not strong. The villagers requested the government to build a permanent dam for them.
The Irrigation Department undertook a feasibility study to determine the appropriate size to benefit the farming villages in this area. When King Bhumibhol and Queen Sirikit visited that area on January 21, 1977, the Irrigation Department presented the project for their advice. King Bhumibhol advised that the project which would benefit the most people should be selected. The huge Mae Ngud Somboon Chol Dam had been under construction since 1977. This project has benefited the people in many ways such as: irrigation and distribution of the water resources; allay high floods; fishing for hobbyists; and an outdoor attraction for the families of Chiangmai.
At the dam, there is a viewing point at the peak. Located there is a long-tail service to ferry guests to the house-rafts or simply to enjoy an hour ride on the lake. At the lake's edge one can see blackened gnarled tree trunks and large black water buffaloes swim and forage for tender grass. Beautiful dark blue kingfisher birds gracefully fly and soar through the air.
The activities for visitors to enjoy are: sail boating, fishing, and bird watching. For peace and tranquillity "off the beaten track" in northern Thailand off the beaten track visit the Mae Ngud Somboon Chol Dam.
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