Doi Mae Salong is one of the most renowned mountain peaks in Chiang Rai. It is located in Mae Salong Nok sub district, Mae Fah Luang district, Chiang Rai province. The best time to visit this mountain peak is, in winter from December to February.

While tourism is huge for Doi Mae Salong, the main source of income here is Oolong tea plantations because it has a comfortable temperature all year round. Santikhiri Village on the mountain peak was predominately populated with a community of Chinese immigrants since 1961. Nowadays, it is home to many Chinese-Thai hill tribes.

Before it was famous, Doi Mae Salong was just a regular mountain. The habitat started about 50 years ago after Mao Zedong’s communist party has a victory in China, and the General Tuan Shi-wen led about 4,000 soldiers of Kuomintang (KMT) 93rd Division to fight the way out of China via Burma to a mountainous sanctuary in Mae Salong in Thailand.

Later the Thai government awarded the KMT with citizenship status and a new settlement on Doi Mae Salong. As a result, most of the village’s inhabitants today are ethnic Chinese and direct descendants of those KMT soldiers.

Highlights of Doi Mae Salong include its splendid natural beauty, cold breeze, authentic tribal culture and remarkable tourist attractions. Each year Wild Himalayan Cherry flowers, so-called Thailand’s Sakura, blooming all over the mountain.

Doi Mae Salong also have a few great spots for photos,  tea plantations on terraced slopes where tea samples and tea making demonstrations are provided. Amongst these tea plantations, the most famous ones are Tea Plantation Rai 101 and Rai Wang Put Tan.

 

Chinese Martyrs’ Memorial Museum near General Tuan Cemetery, located on the hill just above the village,  is a great place learn about the history of Mae Salong.  Here there is a great scenic point where visitors can learn more about the past and overlook the whole mountain covered with Thailand’s Sakura.

Another scenic point to visit is the Phra Boromathat Chedi, meaning a huge pagoda. It is  the relic stupa in honor of the the King Rama IX’s mother, located about 4 kilometers north of Santikhiri Village. This is the highest spot on Doi Mae Salong where tourists can enjoy panoramic views and watch the sunset.

Phra Boromathat Chedi [photo:chiangraifocus.com]

As for accommodations, Santikhiri Village was not initially set up to be tourist destinations. It is the area where groups of hill-tribe people live. The communities there have heavy influence from China because much of he recent settlers moved south from China as mentioned above.

As a result the decoration style and accommodation standards are more indicative of China than Thailand. It is quite hard to see Thai-style modern resort there. You will mostly see architecture that are not usually seen in North Thailand.

Though a few new hotels are built every year, many of existing hotels in Doi Mae Salong are pretty rundown with lower quality and low upkeep. What it means for travelers is do not expect high-end resorts here. Except for one particular resort that manages to be only one high-end accommodation, which is Phu Chai Sai Mountain Resort And Spa.

However, don’t let the conditions of hotel you stay ruin your trip. Even they are a little bit old, most of hotels here are quite comfortable to stay and not expensive too. Besides, the mountain views here are excellent, the air is fresh and cool and there is much of nature to explore. When you’re here you probably get a feeling of guest houses in South East Asia in the 60s which is also great.

Mae Salong Little Home is probably the most famous budget hotel among foreigners. It is very nice place for budget travelers. The location is great, all local buses almost always stop just in front of the hotel. Just 5 minutes walk, you can find a 7-Eleven and less than 10 mins by walking to the largest outdoor market in the village, called OTOP market. The hotel is run by a family that seems to be Chinese family as they speak Chinese fluently.

Here most of staff here don’t speak English that well put a lot of effort to communicate in English very efficiently. Foreigners won’t have any problem with communication here. They are always happy to help or give any information you might need.

They have rooms in the guesthouse starting at 200/300 baht and beautiful bungalows for 500 Baht per night for low season and 800 Baht for high seasons.The food in the restaurant downstairs is quite tasty but the selections are limited. There are rooms with air-conditioner and fan. You don’t need air-con if you visit here any month other than Apri – May which is the hottest period of the year.

The hotel contains 6 small separate houses. In this area, there is a car park space for 3 cars, and another 3 in front of the main house.

Positives:
– Great location, only a few walks from hill-tribe market and less than 10 mins to the largest outdoor market in the village
– Clean and properly managed
– Friendly owners. They can almost always recognize and remember names of most of their guests. You can always ask for any help or directly for other places from the owners and the will help you with enthusiasm.
– Free Wi-fi, with 3 access points. The internet speed is very strong.

Negatives:
– Breakfast is tasty but quite limited, beside it is not included in room charge. You have to always pay for food here.
– The hotel is quite old and little rundown.
– Window views are not that great

Tips:
– When checked in, ask for the rooms in the back side because they have overlooking of the town.

Room Rates

Date
Person per Room
Price (Thai Baht)
1 Feb – 30 Sep
2
500 / room
1 Oct – 30 Nov
2
800 / room
1 Dec – 31 Jan
2
1,000 / room

Address: 31 Moo1 Maesalongnork, Maefahluang, Chiang Rai Thailand
Tel:  053-765389
Website: http://www.maesalonglittlehome.com/
Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Maesalong-littlehome/443537532336093

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