Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong Doi Mae Salong
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Doi Mae Salong

Doi Mae Salong

One of Chiang Rai’s top attractions in every way, “little China on the mountain,” is well worth the dizzying drive 80 kilometers northeast of the city, rising to a cool altitude of 1,800 meters.

When communism was established in China in 1949, the Kuomintang, southern remnants of the National China Army, fled into Burma and survived by growing opium. The Burmese army pushed them into Thailand in 1961; they were some 4,000 exhausted men who then faced violent competition from drug warlord Khun Sa.

Somehow, they established themselves on this mountain and were welcomed by the resolutely anti-communist Thais. They brought their own language and their own style of building. Roofs with upturned corners can even be seen on brand new homes. The struggles of the original settlers ended as recently as the 1980’s and the straggling, switchback little town of some 20,000 inhabitants has been named Santikiri, “hill of peace.”

The late Princess Mother led effective measures to substitute tea, coffee, rice, peaches, and lychees for poppies and encouraged handicraft production by the Chinese and their neighbors, the Akha, Lisu, Mien, and Hmong. The Chedi Boromathat was built in memory of the Princess Mother and affords dramatic views of the once war-torn border.

On one of the few plateaus here, visitors can learn more of these hardy people at the Chinese Martyrs’ Memorial Museum.

Tea tasting is another Mae Salong “must,” and adventurous souls can rent smart ponies to trek the hills for 500 baht per day. Late December sees a million pink Thai sakura blossoms here, and from December 28th to January 2nd, there is a unique annual festival of beauty contests, parades, markets full of woven cloth and silverware, and a light and sound show.

The Legend : Chiang Rai Office
124/15 Moo 21 Kohloy Road, Amphur Muang, Chiang Rai 57000, Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 53 910 400
Fax: +66 (0) 53 719 650
The Legend : Bangkok Office
133/14 Ratchaprarop Road, Ket Rajthevee, Bangkok 10400 Thailand
Tel: +66 (0) 2 642 5497, +66 (0) 2 254 3069, +66 (0) 2 247 5373
Fax: +66 (0) 2 246 5679
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