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Agro-tourism Places South
and West out Mae Wang Way

 GREAT DAY excursion can be had by heading south from Chiangmai city. If, perhaps, you are already planning to visit the wood-carvers or handicrafts village at Hang Dong and Baan Tawai, then it is easy to extend the outing by continuing south to Sanpatong and turning right (shortly after Sanpatong District Office) to Mae Wang.

One of the best known handicraft centers around Chiang Mai is Baan Tawai, famous for its woodcarving products. The village is found by taking the Chiang Mai - Hang Dong Road. From the inner city the turning is at the km 15 marker. Turn left at the traffic lights just as you enter Hang Dong town, and proceed for a further 3 kilometers, the village can be found on the right. The many shops sell both wholesale and retail, and specialize in producing imitation antiques, of which a wide selection are on display. The annual Baan Tawai Handicrafts and Woodcarving Fair takes place on the last weekend of January or first weekend of February.

Baan Roi-Un Pun-yang is a traditional Thai house showcasing Thai antiques, sculpture, carved wood art forms proving to be an valuable exhibition preserved by teacher Charuay Na Soonthorn at 225/4 Chiang Mai-Sanpatong Rd, Tambon Harnkaew between Km 19 and 20. For more information call Tel. 441214, 822664 or mobile 01 951 2542.

Ob Khaan National Park is located on the left side of the Khaan River at Tambon Naamprae. The scenic route is the road hugging the irrigation canal to Hangdong Road for about 15 kms then turn right on the Naamprae-Ob Khaan Rd for about 11 kms. The outstanding sights to see are Takataen Cave, Ob Kahaan, Pha Oy mha, Ob hai, Huay Yha Sai, Pha Toob and Huay Pong. Camping facilities with food and beverage from 08.00 to 18.00 pm. From two trailblazing paths, visitors can take in all the natural beauty of this area. A sight-seeing information center with 24 hour guard is provided.

Another interesting opportunity, when you are out Mae Wang way, is to call in and have a look at one of nature's marvellous weeds. It's a fresh water algae (yes, in inland Chiangmai) which is being cultivated at the Boonsom's Spirulina Farm. A visit to the farm is a great chance to learn all about Spirulina, view the growing ponds and generally relax in beautiful views of the Doi Inthanon mountain range. For a visit to the Green Diamond Spirulina Farm, Call Professor Jiamjit Boonsom for English information at 081 924 5256 or for Thai information call 0 5322 3935. You can visit their web site at: www.greendiamondusa.com.

Once off the main Chiangmai-Sanpatong road, about 20-21 kms from Airport Plaza intersection, it's a splendid drive through beautiful rural countryside. Rice paddies abound before the road climbs higher into the hills and, after passing the Baan Kad crossroads, a 12 km distance pole and later a drive way and the sign of SPIRULINA FARM on the left side can be seen opposite from Wat Sopa. Keep driving and following the sign instruction for another 2 kms, the SPIRULINA Farm is right there. On the way back to the main road, turn left and drive for another 2 kms to the district office, police station, and district hospital nearby each other on the hill.

For a visit to the Sjpirulina Farm, Call Professor Jiamjit Boonsom for English information at 01 924 5256 or for Thai information call 0 5322 3935

 Another 5 kms will have you at the Elephant Camp in the subdistrict of Mae Win. Thick forests flank the road and a rushing river to your left it's a delightful spot to take a break and the good folk at the Elephant Camp are sure to welcome you. Treks and bamboo rafting trips can be taken anytime between 9.00 am. and 4.00 pm. but, for those wanting to catch the elephants at work and play, then aim to be there for 10.00 am. or 2.00 pm. You'll not be disappointed driving to the Elephant Camp at Mae Wang is an ideal excursion to combine with a visit to Hang Dong or Baan Tawai.

Thapae Mae Waang Loong Mee can be reached from the junction of three roads meeting at Tambon Baan Kad about 24 kms in Ampur Sanpatong. The outdoor activities include elephant tour around Thapae, two wheel oxcart riding, trekking by the Mae Waang River and a swim in the Mae Waang waterfall. Open daily at 09.00. Call Tel. 830319 or mobile: 01 224 1659.

 The home of Chiang Mai Thai Doll Products is located in Sanpatong. The irresistible doll collection features traditional Thai dolls in both Thai costume and Hilltribe costume and the dancing dolls with intricately designed costumes. Open daily is the doll museum exhibition dolls from all parts of the world. Stop at 187/12 Moo 9, Baan Dong Khee Lhek, Makham Luang. Ampur Sanpatong or Chiang Mai-Hod road then turn left at Km 23 onto Baan Rai Road for about 5 kms. Tel. 837229.

Your return journey to Chiangmai should include a stop at a former tobacco curing farm from the 1950s. It has been renovated and opened as the Kaomai (Gao Mhai) Lanna Resort and Restaurant. Located at the km 29 marker, the buildings and landscape decoration create a dramatic leisurely hideaway for visitors. The meeting facilities accommodate up to 60 persons and a cotton handicraft products shop offers one of a kind items. It's ideal to stay here while exploring southwestern Chiang Mai. For reservations Tel. 834470-5.

Wiang Tha Karn (Garn) is an ancient walled city that dates back to the Haripoonchai period, built before the advent of King Mengrai, the first of the Lanna Kings. The main historic site is near the center of modern-day Baan Tha Karn, close to the school and the village temple, Wat Tha Karn. The best-preserved of the ruins are the pagoda and the foundations of the wiharn, constructed from bricks and laterite. Historical objects found in the town are Buddha images made from sandstone or ceramics, while some are engraved images. Human bones, fragments of ancient bricks and ceramic tiles can still be found within the precincts of the old city. Baan Tha Karn is about 34 kilometers to the south of Chiang Mai. Follow the Chiang Mai - Hod Road until you reach Baan Tung Siew in Sanpatong District. Turn left at this village and Baan Tha Karn is some 2 kilometers from the intersection.

Just over 43 kilometers from Chiang Mai, on the road to Hod, Highway 108, is one of the oldest temples in the north, Wat Phra That Doi Noi in Chom Thong District. The temple was built by Queen Jamathewee in 658 AD. Among the historic sites are the Praboromathart Khong Pra, a stupa with a hidden underground cell, the Bodh and the Wiharn, and Buddha images carved from marble. The ancient temple itself is wonderfully located on a hill, close to the Ping River, and affords superb all-round views of the surrounding hills and valleys of Chiang Mai.

Wat Phra That Sri Chom Thong is 58 kilometers from Chiang Mai located on the road (Highway 108) before the market and Chom Thong district office. This temple dates from the mid -1400s. The temple houses a collection of bronze Buddha images, and the secondary chapel contains a holy Buddha relic.

Mae Tia Waterfall stands at a height of 80 meters and is 15 meters wide. The water cascades down four tiers and flows for about five kms in distance. It's an adventure to travel for three hours from the Doi Kaew National Park guardhouse. To get there follow highway 108 from Chiang Mai to Chomtong then turn right near the ampur office near Sobtia temple. Travel by the Hod local bus to Chomtong and then hire a motor cycle to the waterfall entrance. A bus service to the waterfall is available.

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