Day Trip to Mae Salong (ดอยแม่สลอง), a Beautiful Yun...Mark Wiens
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Chiang Rai (เชียงราย) is one of my favorite regions of Thailand - it’s a beautiful area in northern Thailand - and I really love everything from the fresh air, to the lovely culture, to the delicious food. If you get a chance to visit Chiang Rai when you’re in Thailand, I would highly recommend it. Chiang Rai town itself is quite small, but there are many things to do and see on day trips, and one day Ying and I decided to rent a car and take a drive to a village known as Mae Salong (แม่สลอง). The name of Mae Salong (แม่สลอง) has actually officially been changed now to Santikhiri (สันติคีรี), however, everyone still refers to it by its former name, and all the signs are still written that way - so for this travel video and guide I’ll still call it Mae Salong.
After we rented a car, we then headed on the road, heading north from Chiang Rai town, until we saw the turn off onto a smaller road. On the route we passed by Choui Fong (ไร่ชาฉุยฟง), a tea plantation, and since we were in our own car, we decided to stop for a few moments to take a break, and to check out the tea plantation. It was a worthwhile stop, and no only did I get some delicious samples of tea, but I ended up buying so high quality tea to take home with me. After our tea stop, we continued driving for about another hour to Mae Salong (แม่สลอง). As we continued to drive and get higher in elevation, the view kept getting better and better, and the air became less humid and more crisp and mountain fresh - I loved it.
Mae Salong (แม่สลอง) is not an ordinary village in Thailand, it’s an ethnically Chinese Yunnanese village, and it honestly feels more like you’ve crossed the border into China. I really felt like I was not in Thailand anymore. You can read more about the history here http://wp.me/psd9b-58o, but the group migrated to Thailand at the end of the Chinese Civil War, and have been living in the Mae Salong and Chiang Rai region since.
When we arrived to Mae Salong (แม่สลอง), our first stop was to have lunch, as Ying and I were both extremely hungry. We chose a restaurant called Im Pochana (ร้านอิ่มโภชนา), serving Yunnanese food, which I was extremely thrilled about. The main dish of our meal was the braised pork leg, which was a huge plate of tender pork, that was extremely tasty and meaty. The other Yunnaese dish I really loved was just the simple plate of yellow Yunnanese noodles stir fried with egg and a few small vegetables. Though it was simple, it was fried to perfection, and I could taste smoke in the noodles - so good.
After a delicious lunch we then walked around the town for a bit. If you take a day trip to Mae Salong (แม่สลอง) you’ll find plenty of souvenir and tea shops along the main street of town. After walking around for a little while, we then headed back to our rental car and drove up the hill to a temple, where we had a nice view of the town / village, and a lovely cool breeze. On our way back to Chiang Rai, we ended up stopping at Doi Tung, a Royal park and palace, located not too far away in the Golden Triangle area of Thailand. It was a nice place to walk around and to learn about some of the history in the area.
Ying and I had an amazing day trip to Mae Salong (แม่สลอง), and the highlight for me, was of course, the delicious Yunnanese meal we ate for lunch. You can get to Mae Salong (แม่สลอง) by public transportation, but we rented a car, which made it much easier to get there and it was convenient to be able to stop where we liked. If you visit Chiang Rai, and want to take a lovely day trip, or even stay for a few days, Mae Salong (แม่สลอง) is a relaxing and beautiful place.
You can read my full article for details on how to get to Mae Salong and more photos: http://migrationology.com/2014/10/day-trip-mae-salong-chiang-rai-guide/
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