Doi Mae Salong - Chinese Mountain Community
What a difference ten years makes. Doi Mae Salong used to be a handful of shops selling Chinese goods and a food shop or so specializing in black chicken soup.
Now the Chinese Community established by the 5th Koumentang Army (Yunan) back in the late '40s has resorts, tea rooms, tea plantations, tea houses, a bank, ATM machines .. and even a 7/11.
Oolong tea is now big business in the mountains of Northern Thailand and Doi Mae Salong seems a perfect place to grow it. The weather fits, the elevation fits and certainly the ambiance fits.
One kilogram of Jasmine Oolong tea sells for Bt 250, which must be a real bargain compared to western prices.
Chinese Martyrs Memorial Museum. This seems to be an interesting place. On the day of our visit, some big affair had the place packed. It is well marked and just outside the main market area.
One absolutely beautiful resort is the Maesalong Flower Hills Resort. The hillside behind the resort is a manicured artistic display of flowers and greenery. The view out across the mountain valley and tea plantation is breathtaking. A pool is under construction.
The winding and often steep ride to and up Doi Mae Salong takes a little more than one hour by car or minivan .. considerably longer by songtaew. The ride by songtaew can also be a bit queasy for many travelers.
Experienced motorcyclists find the ride quite exhilarating, especially in warmer weather. Stopping periodically to enjoy the surrounding mountain scenery is highly recommended.
If you happen to be a Chinese Language scholar or student, Mae Salong is one of the few places in Thailand where you can get classes in Mandarin.
If you decide to spend a night or so on Doi Mae Salong, you have a range of resorts and guest houses to pick from. Prices range from Bt 250 to Bt 3,500
You can book all sorts of Mae Salong tours at hotel tour desks as well as the tour operators along Paholyothin road in Chiang Rai town..